Whether you’re aware of it or not, everything you do starts with an intention. From waking up, to falling in love, starting a business, to turning in for the night… it is sparked by a desire. Learning how to set powerful intentions is the key to making your dreams a reality.
In the classic Vedic text known as the Upanishads declares, “You are what your deepest desire is. As your desire is, so is your intention. As your intention is, so is your will. As your will is, so is your deed. As your deed is, so is your destiny.”
Why set an intention?
The simple answer is to feel fulfilled in our lives and to live a life of purpose. I have been told before that as a yogi I shouldn’t desire anything. To that I say I’m human first. It’s natural to have desires and even more so to have your desires fulfilled. The person that is responsible for fulfilling those desires is you. Setting an intention helps you layout the roadmap of your life and decide where exactly you are headed. How you get there is not the point of this exercise, we are focused on getting clear on where you are headed.
What is an intention?
What do you want?
How do you set intentions?
“What do I want?”
What makes intentions powerful?
- Keep your intention in the positive. We tend to focus on what we don’t want easier than what we do want. If answers in the negative “don’t want” come to you simply reframe them into the positive. For example if you’re answer is “I don’t want to work my 9-5 job anymore” reframe this to what you would want instead “I want to be a fashion designer and create beautiful conscious clothing for women”
- Be specific. This is important. Remember you intention is your roadmap, in order to get somewhere you need to know exactly where you want to go. Continuing with our example above you don’t want to say “I want to be a designer” this could lead you on a path to becoming an graphic designer when you wanted to be a fashion designer.
- Get even more clear by answering these questions:
- Summarize with one word. Now that you have experienced how it feels to have this intention fulfilled summarize it with one word. One word that when it comes to your mind you immediately invoke all of those feelings of fulfillment again. It doesn’t have anything to do with the intention itself it could be any word like – patience, expansion, love, joy, etc etc.
- Release it. It’s time to cover your planted seed with the soil of the universe and release it. Just like you wouldn’t sit and stare at a planted seed waiting for it sprout so to you don’t want to obsess over your intention waiting for it to happen. Instead nourish it with right action and discipline. Set goals that will nurture the intention, take actions that will nurture the intention, and make choices that will nurture the intention. Listening to your inner voice and allowing it to guide you is what manifests intentions.
When to set intentions?
The beauty of intentions like goals is they are yours and you can plant them whenever you want. With that being said as you read above intention setting is a mindful process that requires time and space.
Personally, I like to follow the rhythms of nature to guide my intention setting rituals. For me it feels right to align with nature and feel supported by the ebb and flow of energy that is already in motion.
The specific days I do intention setting rituals are:
New Moon: Once a month
Full Moon: Once a month
Winter Solstice: December
Spring Equinox- March
Summer Solstice: June
Fall Equinox : September
Balance your intentions. I use the Solstice and Equinox to do big long term intention setting work similar to quarterly goals. I use the moon phases to set short term intentions and to continue refining my big intentions.
Find what works for you. There are so many different guides and rituals for setting powerful intentions. Read through a few and find what works for you. You can make it as simple or intricate as you’d like with having an quiet day to your self intention setting party to having an intention setting party and everything in between.
However you choose to do, the biggest takeaway from me sharing this with you is to inspire you to do it. Your mind is a powerful tool that wants you to have your deepest desires fulfilled. You do your job of planting the seed so it can do its job of manifesting it.
A simple guide to setting intentions
Until next time…. Stay mindful my friend.
Ritu Riyat is an Applied Yoga and Meditation coach and Diversity and Inclusion leader in Silicon Valley. She creates simple habits to support sustainable health through food, movement, and meditation. Download her free guide to a more mindful life.